Why Homebuilders Should Use Emotional Intelligence When They Hire

A great hire is more than a solid resume. Learn about emotional intelligence and how it can contribute to a homebuilding employee's success.
By Rodney Hall | November 30, 2007

Emotional intelligence (also known as Emotional Quotient Index) is one of the hot topics among business leaders and HR professionals lately. It came up several times during a human resource workshop I attended at the ULI fall meeting in Las Vegas. Is this just a fad that's resurfaced among the doctoral crowd or something actually useful at the business level? Let's take a look.

Emotional Intelligence Defined

This is where it gets a little sticky — the actual definition appears to be a work-in-progress among psychology professionals. Dr. Gary Williamson, managing partner with PSP Metrics, cites self awareness, managing emotions, self motivation, empathy for others and relationship building as the five common elements in most popular definitions. So in some respects, psychologists have been testing for EI for years without calling it that. Here are some other definitions:

  • Our ability to manage and regulate our emotions in a healthy and balanced manner to achieve personal and business goals
  • The capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others; for motivating ourselves; and for managing emotions in ourselves and in our interpersonal relationships
  • The ability to restrain negative feelings such as anger and self-doubt and instead focus on positive ones such as confidence and congeniality
  • The ability to recognize what works and doesn't work within a company, and/or what is required to achieve results as part of a team
  • An individual's fit with the social, political and management culture of an organization

In his 1995 book "Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More than IQ," psychologist Daniel Goleman claimed that people with strong emotional skills excel in life, sometimes even more than those with a high IQ. He doesn't discount the value of IQ or professional work skills but points out that, although these strengths might get you in the door of a company, emotional skills will help you thrive once you're there. As Goleman notes, the best achievers in companies tend to have much better interpersonal skills than average performers.

Need an example? Consider this: on paper, Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman both had extraordinary athletic skills, maybe not equal, but certainly well above the NBA average. Jordan succeeded in working as part of a team, leading the Bulls to multiple championships. Rodman constantly feuded with his teammates and managers, creating dissension in the organization. His accomplishments — and more importantly, those of the teams he played for — pale in comparison.

Why It Matters

The next time an opportunity surfaces to hire a franchise player for your company, take some time to assess how the person will "fit" within your organization from an interpersonal standpoint.

Author Information
Rodney Hall is a senior partner with The Talon Group, a leading executive search firm specializing in the real-estate development and home building industries.


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